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'O'-Level Featured Article

IMG-20210111-WA0013.jpgFor most of us, making plans for the week or year is the most we think of. Lin Jun Quan has a different perspective. He has planned his route to becoming an architect.  He wishes to study Architecture in Polytechnic before getting a degree in the National University of Singapore followed by a Masters in Architecture in Cambridge.

But Jun Quan knows that success does not come to those who build castles in the air.  He shared with us his strategy for overcoming his difficulties in memorising key content by putting aside small amounts of time each day towards memorisation so that his mind would not be overwhelmed.

Jun Quan saw his hard work pay off, as consistent revision for each subject brought positive results during his preliminary examinations.

However, tragedy struck as Jun Quan’s mother was hospitalised during his ‘O’ Levels.  During this time, Jun Quan not only had to take care of himself and his studies, he also had to help with the everyday household chores in his mother’s absence.  He recalls gratefully how his parents and sister supported him during this difficult time.  He also thanks his subject teachers and form teachers who guided him through secondary school.

A firm believer in working and playing hard, Jun Quan set aside time for his beloved CCA, the PHS Drama Club. Through the Drama Club, Jun Quan learned how to face his fears, overcome performance anxiety and be resourceful.

Jun Quan laughs, “We had to innovate with the given resources to create props for ourselves.”

Jun Quan was not just a hard worker and motivated student, he believes that developing a sense of empathy was more important than finding personal success. “I still believe the most important value out of the five PHS school values is Empathy.  It helped me to understand my friends, and taught me how to share my views with them and support them on their way.”

Jun Quan’s advice to his juniors is to split their time wisely between work and play.  A healthy balance is needed for success.  Nicholas had this to say, “Cut out pointless activities.  Work hard and play hard.”


'O'-Level Featured Article
Nicholas looks like your everyday student with his easy smile and humble demeanour.  He shares that, despite his best efforts, he always received average or below average scores. But he did not let this discourage him. He wanted to pursue a career in either Biomedical Science or Data Analytics and set a goal to study Science in Junior College. Gradual improvement and not immediate success brought him confidence for the O-Levels. When he obtained his results, he was delighted to see that he qualified for his chosen course.
Nicholas is no stranger to hardship and frustration. His father suffered from a heart attack and after a struggle, passed away just two weeks before the O-Levels. During his father’s illness, Nicholas had to balance between his family duties and studying for the O-Levels. Worried for his father and family, Nicholas found it hard to focus on his studies.
Nicholas is most grateful to his mother for being his biggest motivation. Despite her own worries, she always put up a brave front in order to help Nicholas and his sister feel better. His desire to not disappoint her was his biggest motivation to study hard.
Not only did Nicholas work hard to improve himself, he is appreciated for his unstinting efforts to help others to improve. A committed member of the Symphonic Band, Nicholas learnt the value of teamwork from his conductor who told him that the band was only as good as its weakest player. Success depended on everybody playing their part and playing well together.
Nicholas’ friends cherish his strong sense of empathy. Even if he had not experienced what the problems they were going through, they could always rely on him to empathise with what they were feeling. Nicholas told us that he tries to follow the mantra of putting himself in their shoes before he talks to his friends. As a result, his words could offer solace to his friends who were feeling down.
Nicholas has fond memories of his time in school. His advice to his juniors is that they should learn from their mistakes and let their teachers and friends help them.
He would also like to remind the graduating students to start studying immediately. Nicholas told our interviewer, “Last minute studying doesn’t work out. Pay attention in class and do your homework.”


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2020 4N Feature Article – Tasvin’s Story

“Every student has his or her ups and downs but learning the value of perseverance goes a long way towards becoming a better person.”                                                                                       – Tasvin Komal Kaur d/o Hardeep Singh, 4B, Class of 2020

Taking small steps to achieve meaningful goals, which she has set for herself, seems to be Tasvin’s motivation thus far. The determination and grit in her to persist and persevere when she faces obstacles has allowed her to see them as a learning opportunities to do even better in the future. Sitting for the GCE O-Level examination in 2021, she continues to place her focus on her goal of going to a Junior College. 
With non-academic commitments that came in her way last year while she was preparing for the GCE N-Level examination, she ensured that she stayed focussed in school with the optimism to learn. She shares that it is crucial that students stay resilient no matter what comes their way: “Having stayed strong during difficult times showed me that I am capable of achieving my goals even in times of difficulties.” The resilience she has demonstrated thus far is evident from the Edusave Scholarship Award, which she received in 2019.
Tasvin is grateful for her supportive family and they showed their love through a care pack with her favourite snacks in it to motivate her while she was preparing for the national examination last year. Her sister constantly ensured that she had sufficient rest and provided her with tips on improving her writing. Besides the support she has been receiving from her family, she has a strong support group in school in the form of friends who help to establish a positive learning environment for her. 
It is no doubt that Tasvin has grown by leaps and bounds in learning to juggle both school commitments and non-academic commitments. She learned to prioritise and focus on things that she can control. Being a member of the school Basketball team, she agrees that it is not easy to cope with academics and Basketball trainings. At the same time, she believes that she learnt how important time management is through Basketball, which since then has allowed her to manage her priorities and excel in them. Though she was disappointed that she was not able to get into PFP, it did not stop her from moving on to the next phase of her education journey that is to prepare for her GCE O-Level examination this year. 
Tasvin has a piece of advice for this year’s graduating cohort: “It is very important to take breaks and have sufficient rest when you need it so as to internalise new information that you have learnt. Do remember to consult your teachers when you are unsure of something and the teachers are more willing to help you when you need it.” 


2020 4N Feature Article – Isaac’s Story (4A) 
“Never give up without trying. Nothing is too difficult.” – 
Isaac Kong, 4A, Class of 2020 

Resilience in the face of great odds. This is the story of Isaac who sat for his N-Levels amidst the challenges of 2020, such as home-based learning, and safe management measures. A student from the Normal (Technical) course, Isaac initially approached the N-Level hoping to qualify for the Nitec in Infocomm Technology at ITE. Isaac was also offered the opportunity to take several subjects (such as English Language, Mathematics, and Science) at Normal (Academic) level while at PHS. As the year wore on however, Isaac faced some difficulties. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the tuition he had been receiving for English Language was suspended. This was particularly challenging as English Language was one of the subjects that Isaac found the most difficult throughout his secondary school education. Instead of despairing or giving up, Isaac persevered and responded by strategising, planning a study timetable and working hard to improve on it. During the September holidays, he worked on completing other schools’ papers and also approached his teacher, Ms Li, for additional help. Isaac thus quickly improved, doing well at the N-Levels and attributing his success to daily practice. Apart from diligent study, Isaac also contributed to the wider PHS community through his involvement as a member of PHMedia. Using filming equipment, Isaac supported the smooth running and commemoration of school events by taking photographs and videos too. When reflecting upon his time at PHS, Isaac says: “I would like to thank my parents and all my teachers for supporting me over the course of these past four years. There were challenges I had to face but they never gave up on me.” With Isaac’s determined attitude, he has chosen to take on a new challenge, returning to PHS following a lateral transfer to the 4 Normal (Academic) course. In 2021, Isaac will sit for the national examinations once more, and hopes to do well in order to qualify for the Direct Entry Scheme to Polytechnic Programme (DPP) next year. Isaac’s message of resilience and hope is reflected in his advice to the graduating cohort of 2021: “Believe in yourself, be disciplined and you will succeed!”



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